Digital Pond, CARE, and HP team up to depict women in developing countries.
By Clare Baker
Last October, a group of photographers and professionals from the digital-printing industry gathered at Digital Pond, a San Francisco-based design and print-production house, to produce a photography exhibit depicting women in the developing world.
The exhibit, titled, "I Am Powerful," is the result of a partnership between CARE, the humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with a special focus on women, and Hewlett-Packard. CARE officially launched its "I Am Powerful" campaign-an effort designed to connect women in the United States to women in impoverished countries-last March on International Women’s Day 2006.
Together, the two organizations assembled five teams of professional and student photographers for photo shoots in countries where CARE has on-the-ground operations-Angola, Cambodia, Egypt, India, and Peru. The teams were sent out in late summer 2006 and spent approximately 10 days in their respective locations, traveling the country and taking hundreds of photographs. Four of the five photographers used digital technology, while one shot with film and then scanned the images for output.
Professional photographer Phil Borges was on the Cambodia trip, along with student photographer Hoshito Omija and Beth Meyer, CARE’s marketing alliances manager. The group traveled to the villages of Sisophon and Siem Reap, meeting and photographing women involved in CARE’s "Positively Living with AIDS" program, with Borges digitally capturing his subjects using his Hasselblad 503CW medium-format SLR.
While the devastating effects of poverty serve as the backdrop for these photographs, the women and their stories communicate an important message of hope, illustrating the power that women have to help those in their families and communities escape lives of poverty.
Getting the message output
Several weeks after the photographers returned from their trips, they gathered in San Francisco for a "digital workshop" at Digital Pond. There, Digital Pond and HP employees collaborated, providing the "I Am Powerful" photographers with the knowledge and assistance necessary to aid them in producing their images.
In addition to helping to host the workshop and guests, explains Mike Turnbull, senior account executive at Digital Pond, "We extended our digital-imaging and printing experts in the hands-on review and production of the photographers’ prints." This included help with preparing the electronic files, color profiling, RIPing files, and reviewing the printed pieces.
Using Adobe Photoshop, the photographers manipulated their files and prepared their images for output. The final images were then output using the HP Designjet Z2100 8-color and Designjet Z3100 12-color photo printers with HP 70 Vivera inks. Images were printed onto a variety of HP media, including HP Hahnemuhle Smooth Fine Art paper, HP Professional Satin Photo Paper, and HP Professional Gloss Photo Paper. In all, more than 30 final images were produced.
Displays of empowerment
The completed exhibit first appeared at the PhotoPlus Expo (now PhotoPlus International) this past November at the Javits Center in New York City. Then, throughout this past March, the exhibit was installed in the lobby of the United Nations headquarters in New York City, along with an additional photography exhibit by Borges, "Women Empowered," also produced by Digital Pond, again utilizing HP tools. Throughout the coming year, the images from the "I Am Powerful" exhibit will be repurposed for a variety of applications-photo albums, books, cards, and more-using several different printing technologies.
The timing of two exhibits is notable: They were on display during the 51st Commission on the Status of Women which coincided with International Women’s Day 2007 on March 8. As the "I Am Powerful" campaign celebrates one year in action, Meyer anticipates it will be a part of CARE’s fight against poverty for some time. "Women," she says, reiterating CARE’s message, "are the most impacted by poverty. This [campaign] will be a part of our message for the next couple of years."